Two of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference will be going head-to-head this Thursday, as the Cleveland Cavaliers look to triple down on their dominance of the Boston Celtics this season. Will the Cavaliers go 3-0 this season against Boston? Or, will the Celtics finally get one at the expense of Cleveland?
Catch this game live on Thursday, March 2, at 8:30 AM, Manila time
Away: Cleveland Cavaliers (39-25/13-18 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Darius Garland
- SG: Donovan Mitchell
- SF: Isaac Okoro
- PF: Evan Mobley
- C: Jarrett Allen
Cleveland regained its footing last Monday with a 118-93 victory at home against the Toronto Raptors. The Cavs were on shaky ground before that game, having lost three straight contests. Donovan Mitchell fired 35 points versus Toronto, while Darius Garland had 18 points and 11 assists.
Mitchell has been splendid this season, and even when up against an elite opponent in Boston, he is able to produce a lot offensively. The All-Star guard has averaged 33.0 points on 50 FG% and 44.4 3FG% in the two meetings this season with the Celtics, which the Cavs both won.
But don’t sleep on Cleveland’s defense to play the biggest role for the team this Thursday. After all, the Cavs are leading the NBA so far in the 2022-23 season in scoring defense with only 106.5 points allowed per game. They are also third overall with an adjusted defensive rating of 110.0.
The Cavs are 3-2 ATS in their last five road games.
Home: Boston Celtics (44-18/24-7 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Marcus Smart
- SG: Jaylen Brown
- SF: Jayson Tatum
- PF: Al Horford
- C: Robert Williams III
Unlike the Cavs, the Celtics failed to take care of business in their last game, as Boston fell prey to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden last Tuesday, 109-94. The Celtics just didn’t seem to have it in that game, at least offensively. They shot only 44 FG% and were an atrocious 9/42 from behind the arc. Jayson Tatum had a one-man brickfest with 6/18 shooting for only 14 points.
That’s not typical of Boston, though. The Celtics are averaging 117.7 points per game this season, fourth-best in the league. They are also fifth overall with a 56.5 eFG% and seventh with a 37.7 3FG%. Boston should be fine. The last time the Celtics hosted Cleveland, Boston shot 51.2 FG% and went 13/33 from behind the arc, albeit in a 132-123 overtime loss back in October.
Beating the Celtics three games in a row in a single season, however, just sound so hard to do, even for a team like the Cavs, who happen to be just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 trips to Beantown. As for the Celtics, they are 4-0 ATS in their last four games at home.
Spread: The Celtics (-5.5) cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total (225.5) hits the Under.